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Buying local goes big through Detroit 2 Detroit program

from the Ren Cen 11-16-12

Here are some startling statistics. If Detroit business bought more from each other they could add 7,700 more jobs and increase their revenue by $2.5 billion over the next ten years, and help rebuild the city’s economy.

That’s the word from the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, which recently launched the D2D, business-to-business program.

degc_logoA study by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) found that increasing Detroit-to-Detroit business transactions could add 7,700 jobs to the city’s economy over the next ten years. The study also projected that the new activity could help attract new businesses by concentrating suppliers here for some industries.

So far the program has the support of 11 companies and four anchor institutions that are committed to increase Detroit-to-Detroit buying and selling. The group combined already sources more than $550 million in goods and services from local suppliers.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Comerica Bank, Compuware, Detroit Medical Center, Detroit Lions, DTE Energy, Ernst & Young, Greektown Casino, Henry Ford Health System, Quicken Loans, Skidmore Studios, Strategic Staffing Solutions, Urban Science, University of Detroit Mercy and Wayne State University are participating in the program.

D2D is working with individual companies to match buyers with qualified suppliers. It is also sharing news about bidding opportunities, supplier development events and B2B impacts.

The program is getting good reviews so far.

“D2D is a tool all Detroit businesses should use without thinking about it,” said Carl Bentley, executive vice president, Strategic Staffing Solutions. “With the approach DEGC has taken, it will create an opportunity for all Detroit business to make it a habit.”

Detroit Medical Center Procurement Manager Paulette Belser said DMC saved $300,000 when it found a local supplier. “It just makes sense to buy from Detroit companies. We support the community, and they support us,” she said.

from the Ren Cen 11-16-12“Working with local businesses is good business,” said Anthony Tomczak, purchasing director for DTE, who pointed out he has seen a 50 percent increase with Detroit vendors over the past two years. “This allows DTE Energy to be a force for growth and an engine of progress without sacrificing quality or value. This is DTE Energy’s aspiration,” he said.

Comerica Bank spends $36.2 million annually with Detroit vendors. Director of Corporate Procurement, Gloria Oldani, and Vice President of Supplier Diversity, Teresa LeFevre, said Detroit businesses have been key contributors to Comerica’s success for over 160 years.

Charice Thomas, co-owner of Sweet Potato Sensations, said a significant part of her success has come from selling her sweet potato products to other Detroit-based businesses such as Metro FoodLand, Vicky’s Barbeque and 1917 American Bistro. She is expecting to sell to Whole Foods Market, opening in Detroit later this year. “Our food contracts throughout the city have helped us to be part of the re-vitalization of our community here on Grand River and Lahser,” she said.

DEGC just launched a D2D website at to help connect Detroit companies with local suppliers who have an understanding of the local market. The goal is to build a community of businesses with a strong economic success support system.

But the connections don’t necessarily stop at the city borders. The website provides tools for companies, including the Pure Michigan Business Connect database, where suppliers can register to become part of a directory for not only Detroit but also Michigan-based companies, and buyers can search for qualified local suppliers.

The D2D site also features a savings and impact business calculator to help businesses determine how much they can save, how many jobs they can create, and how they can make an impact when their money is spent in Detroit.

D2D is supported by a grant from the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan. The new D2D website was strategized, designed and developed by Skidmore Studio.

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